Does Powdered Sugar Go Bad?

Powdered sugar is a great sweetener for any desert. It has a long shelf life and can be stored almost anywhere. The convenience of powdered sugar makes it a must-have ingredient for any cabinet. However, there are instances where your confectioners’ sugar is not safe to use. Read on to find out more.

Quick Answer

Unopened powdered sugar has a long shelf life and can last a few years past its expiration date. Once opened you can store the confectioner’s sugar in the fridge for about a week.  Freezing the sugar is fine as long as a freezer bag is used. It can stay frozen for up to 2 years.

 

How you store your powdered sugar has a lot to do with how long it lasts. Where you store your confectioners’ sugar is just as important as how. Here are some things to know when storing your powdered sugar in various locations

Does Powdered Sugar Go Bad? How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last?

How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last Outside?

Powdered sugar can last a long time when properly stored outside. Here are some tips to help your sugar last while outside.

Do not get wet:  Rainy days are not good for powdered sugar because the moisture will ruin the sugar. Rain will cause the sugar to liquefy and become useless. It can become sticky and difficult to handle. Moisture will also cause mold and other bacteria to grow. This is bad because parasites can cause you to become sick. If mold is present on sugar or its packaging, discard it.

Do not keep near chemicals: Garages and sheds are bad for storing powdered sugar because odors from chemicals can penetrate the powder and cause it to smell bad. Do not store sugar near harmful chemicals. When storing outside, store in an area with no fumes, such as a patio.

How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last in the Fridge?

Powdered sugar has a long shelf life and can even be used past its expiration date. However, some places are not good for storing confectioners’ sugar and the fridge in one. It is okay to leave the sugar in the fridge for a short time, a week or less, but long term storage is not recommended. Here are some things to remember about refrigerator storage. 

Use airtight container:  To keep powdered sugar fresh longer refrigerate in an airtight container. Too much exposure to air can cause the sugar to clump up or turn hard. Although sifting the hardened sugar and using it is fine, it is not recommended for the best results. A plastic zip-lock bag is also a good choice for storing your sugar. Make sure the plastic bag is free of holes and remove all air from the bag before refrigerating.

Check for moisture:  Moisture is bad for powdered sugar because it can cause mold to grow. The refrigerator has a lot of moisture and can be bad for powdered sugar. If storing in the fridge check sugar for moisture build-up. Do not use if wet. It is advised not to store sugar in the fridge longer than a few hours.

How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last in the Freezer?

The freezer is a better choice for storing powdered sugar because it doesn’t have as much moisture. However, ice can form when freezing your sugar. Here are a few hazards to avoid when freezing.

Avoid Ice:  Ice can form if powdered sugar is not stored properly. Powdered sugar should be kept in a freezer bag or an airtight container, preferably both. If ice has formed on the bag or the powdered sugar itself, discard. Moisture is not good for the confectioners’ sugar and can cause it to liquefy when thawed.

Avoid air: Air is bad for confectioners’ sugar because it will cause it to clump and harden. To keep air out when freezing powdered sugar, place sugar in a zip lock freezer bag and then store it in an airtight container. This will help to keep the sugar soft while freezing.

How to Tell if Powdered Sugar is bad/How to Know if Powdered Sugar is Fresh?

Powdered sugar can go bad. Although it has a shelf life of about2 years, there are times when your sugar is not safe. There are ways to tell if your confectioners’ sugar is good, or if it has to be thrown out.

Odor: Powdered sugar can absorb odors easily. Baking with compromised sugar can affect the quality of your food. If your confectioners’ sugar has a strange odor do not use it.

Taste:  Powdered sugar should taste sweet and nothing else. If your sugar has a bad taste do not use it.

Mold:  Mold can grow on powdered sugar if not stored properly or stored too long. The average shelf life of the confectioners’ sugar is two years. Mold can happen if the sugar is not stored properly. Mold can cause an upset stomach or worse if digested. If there are spots on the sugar, discard it immediately.

Pests:  Insects and rodents can get in your powdered sugar and ruin it. They can leave behind eggs and droppings that if digested can cause you harm. Check powdered sugar for signs of pests even if the package has not been opened.

Texture:  When checking to see if it is safe to use your powdered sugar, inspecting the texture is most important. The good texture is a strong indicator the powdered sugar is safe to use. Your confectioners’ sugar should be light and fluffy. There should be no clumps or lumps in the sugar and it should feel soft to the touch. If sugar is hard or bumpy do not use it.

How to Store Powdered Sugar?

Powdered sugar can be kept for a long period if stored properly. Here are a few things to remember about storing your powdered sugar.

Keep in an airtight container:  Airtight containers prevent powdered sugar from becoming hard or clumpy. The air causes the sugar to dry out. It is okay to use powdered sugar if it has small clumps in it as long as there are not too many clumps or they are not too big. Simply use a sifter to sift out tiny clumps. If the powdered sugar has become hard it will be difficult to sift. In that case, discard the sugar.

Keep away from pests:  Pests can destroy powdered sugar. If pests do get into powdered sugar it is not safe to eat. Pests can leave behind eggs and dropping that can make you sick if digested. When storing powdered sugar place it in an area pest will not get to.

Store in a dry location: Moisture is bad for powdered sugar because it can cause mold to grow. When storing powdered sugar place in a dry location such as a cabinet or countertop.

Can you Freeze Powdered Sugar?

Freezing powdered sugar is okay for a short amount of time such as weeks or months. Long-term freezing of powdered sugar should be avoided because of the danger of ice exposure and freezer burn. Here are a few steps to take when freezing confectioners’ sugar.

Step 1: Use a freezer bag-  If the confectioners’ sugar has been opened, remove the remaining contents from the bag and place them in a zip lock freezer bag. Placing the powdered sugar in a freezer bag will help to ensure its freshness. Freezer bags are designed to prevent ice and freezer burn from forming on the sugar. Ice will ruin the sugar and make it impossible to use.    

Step 2: Remove excess air-  Even though the sugar has been placed in a zip lock freezer bag there is still a danger of air exposure. That’s because of air present in the zip lock bag after closing. To prevent your sugar from drying out while sitting in the freezer, remove excess air. Do this by pushing on the bag as you seal it. Push on the bag until it is flat.

Step 3: Use an airtight container-  After the sugar has been placed in a freezer bag and the air is let out it is time to store it in an air-tight container. This will further help to prevent ice and freezer burn from forming. Place in an airtight container and seal with lid.

Step 4: Store away from other foods-  Sore your confectioners’ sugar on a shelf away from other foods. Smells from other foods such as meat can penetrate the confectioners’ sugar and leave it with a foul smell.

How to Thaw Powdered Sugar?

Powdered sugar can be thawed and used again. The best way to thaw powdered sugar is at room temperature. Here are a couple of methods for thawing confectioners’ sugar.

Place in a bowl of water: This is the fastest way to thaw frozen powdered sugar. Fill a bowl with hot water. Place the unopened container of sugar into the water. Make sure the water does not get the sugar wet. Leave an unopened container of sugar in the water for about twenty minutes, then check. If sugar is still frozen leave in water until thawed.

Room Temperature: Room temperature is not the fastest way to thaw powdered sugar, but it is the best method to use. That’s because there is no chance of getting the sugar wet. When thawing your sugar at room temperature, remove the sugar from the freezer and place it on the countertop. Leave on the countertop for several hours. Check sugar after about five hours.

Do not Place in Oven:  Do not put sugar in over to thaw because it will melt the sugar. Too much heat will liquefy the sugar and make it useless.

Frequently asked questions about the shelf life of powdered sugar.

Can I use my powdered sugar if it has been sitting a long time? You can use powdered sugar if it has been sitting for a long time because powdered sugar has a long shelf life. It can last on the shelf for up to 2 years if stored properly. As long as no insects or other pests are present it is safe to use. Pests can leave behind eggs and dropping that can make you sick. Also, watch out for mold. Mold is caused by moisture forming inside the confectioners’ sugar bag. Mold growth is a sign that your powdered sugar is not safe to use. If you notice spots on your sugar, do not eat.

What to do if my powdered sugar has lumps in it? If your powdered sugar has lumps or clumps in it you can still use it. The best way to get rid of clumps is to use a sifter. Sift the clumps of powdered sugar until it is soft and easy to use. If the clump of sugar is large and does not break apart easily, use a knife to cut the clump up before placing it in the sifter.

What to do if my powdered sugar gets wet while storing? Liquids are not good for powdered sugar. They can cause the sugar to liquefy and disintegrate. If a small amount of liquid has gotten on your sugar throw that part away and use the rest that is dry. If all of your powdered sugar is wet, throw it away.

Wrap Up

Powdered sugar is a great addition to any pantry. Great for baking, powdered sugar can be used in many recipes. If you have some information you would like to share about powdered sugar leave a comment below.

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